Singapore food court showcases employment of immigrants bussed to New York City

One Singapore food court in Manhattan offers more than just delicious food.

After moving images of immigrants into town, chefs and stall owners at the soon-to-open Urban Hawker are offering jobs.

Celebrity Singaporean chef KF Seetoh, who has brought more than 11 chefs to work for the food court that will open at the end of September, posted on Instagram on Sunday that Singapore hawkers are “happy to hire if they are diligent and allowed”.

“New York and America have given us this opportunity and we are passing it on,” his post continued.

Latin American immigrants have recently flocked to the city, sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican. Fleeing violence and economic devastation in their home countries, many crossed into Texas from Mexico.

Their plight caught the attention of Sitoh and other Singaporean chefs.

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“Immigrants are just people looking for a better tomorrow. They need jobs in this land of opportunity,” Sitoh told the Daily News Sunday.

14,000 square foot area, at West 50th Street between Sixth and Seventh Aves. In Midtown, it is managed by food court operator Urbanspace and will feature 17 kiosks with a seating capacity of approximately 200.

Urban Hawker’s menu will introduce diners to Singapore’s hawker cuisine, which has been recognized by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO for its cultural significance in 2020. Hawker food such as chicken rice, shrimp noodle soup and Singapore’s signature lobster dish will be served.

Nearly all of the 17 stalls will need a few assistants, Sitoh said, adding that the chefs will teach the transferred workers “lifetime skills” for being an expert in a particular dish and being an entrepreneur.

“It is not a very complicated task; one just has to work hard.”

On how the food court is communicating with newly displaced families, he said he hoped news of the stall-holders’ show would reach Mayor Adams.

Immigration expert Alan Wernick said that while the chefs’ offer is good, immigrants should apply for asylum first. “They can apply for a work permit after 150 days, and they will qualify for a work card after 180 days of submitting their asylum application,” he said.

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